Who Discovered the Mississippi River?

Known as one of the longest rivers in America, the Mississippi River is 2,320 miles or 3,730 kilometers long. The mouth of the river is found in the Gulf of the Mexico while the source is in Minnesota’s Lake Itasca. This river is considered a great part of the most popular and largest river system not just in the United States but also in the entire North America, the Missouri-Mississippi river system. The river is composed of two rivers, which are the Upper Mississippi River and Lower Mississippi River. To know more about this, it is important to start with the person behind the discovery of the river.


Who discovered the Mississippi River? Spanish traveler Hernando De Soto found the river in 1541. He crossed the longest river in the United States to get to Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas. He named the river Rio del Espiritu Santo. After the discovery of the river, many communities were established near the place. Some of the communities that were established are the Grand Rapids, the Diamond Bluff, Fort Madison and Brownsville.

In the 17th century, French travelers Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet explored the river and suggested that the place be called Ne Tongo, which means Big River in Sioux language. Another historical event happened in 1682 when Henri de Tonti, Sieur de La Salle and Rene-Robert Cavelier claimed the entire river for France. They named it Colbert River. Pierre Le Moyne d’lberville found the Mississippi River’s mouth after La Salle’s death. Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne established New Orleans in the crescent of the river.

Additional Information and Other Important Details

Many tourists and foreigners visit Mississippi River because it features numerous attractions. Some of the notable landmarks that can be found in the river are bridges or crossings like the Black Hawk Bridge, the Great River Bridge and the Crescent City Connection. Aside from bridges, people can also find numerous drainage basins along the river such as the Des Moines River, Wisconsin River, Crow River and Illinois River.

To provide nice sites and beautiful attractions to tourists, national parks were also established along the river. Examples of the parks found are the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, the New Orleans Jazz National Historic Park and the Vicksburg National Military Park. In addition to spending time at national parks, visitors can also enjoy several recreational activities like water skiing. This sports can be done at Lake Pepin, which is found between Wisconsin and Mississippi.

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